Credit union accounts

Credit union savings are usually held in share accounts but some also offer deposit accounts. You can withdraw your money on demand from most credit union accounts, but you may have to keep a certain amount of savings if you also have a loan with that credit union.

Becoming a credit union member

Credit unions are community-based organisations that provide services and loans for their members. To become a member you must fall within a ‘common bond’. This means you must:

  • Be living or working in a particular area
  • Be employed by a company which has a credit union
  • Be a member of a professional body that runs its own credit union

You need to become a member of a credit union to open an account. You can get more information on credit union membership from the Irish League of Credit Unions and the Credit Union Development Association.

What rate of return do you get on your savings?

Credit unions usually pay you a yearly dividend rather than interest on your savings. The rate given will depend on the level of profit your credit union made the previous year, so it is not guaranteed.

You will have to pay a government tax (DIRT) on your dividends, but some credit unions also offer Special Term Share Accounts, which offer tax-free dividends, subject to certain terms and conditions. To qualify for tax free benefits, you must leave your funds in the account for either three or five years.

  • Credit unions usually pay you a yearly dividend rather than interest on your savings. The rate given will depend on the level of profit your credit union made the previous year, so it is not guaranteed.
  • You need to become a member of a credit union to open an account. You can get more information on credit union membership from the Irish League of Credit Unions and the Credit Union Development Association.

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